I got a copy of dog burning at noon. It is a great little 5 min. film . I asked Robert Machover , who taught the class to write something about the film it follows. Roz Payne Dog Burning At Noon was made by the class in filmaking that I taught at The Free University of New York. Nailing down the date isn't easy but my best guess is the spring of 1967. The class was free but everyone was asked to contribute a lab fee ($25?) to cover the cost of film, processing, audio tape, sound transfer, etc. I supplied the camera (16mm wind-up Bolex), tape recorder (non-sync Uher) and editing equipment. There were about a dozen people taking the class. At the first session, I gave everyone the "homework" assignment of writing an outline/treatment for a short film that we could make together. There were many restrictions on what we could do and only the simplest ideas were practical.- short, no sync sound, accessible locations, etc. The next week, people presented their proposals and we discussed them. I ruled out more than half the ideas because they were overly ambitious, undoable. I think it was Connie Long who proposed the dog burning story, perhaps because she had heard of someone actually planning to do something like it. A group announces plans to burn a dog. People are shocked and horrified, yet they are complacent about the daily murders committed by our government in Vietnam. There wasn't much competition and the class voted overwhelmingly for DBAN. I was skeptical that it could be made to work but it was an ideal class project - everyone could participate and it was certainly within our limited means. I think the success of the film is based on its surreal, austere mood. A group appears, each person dressed in a white shirt and black pants. A sign proclaims "Dog Burning at Noon Today". The people assemble at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, accompanied by a cute little dog on a leash. They gather wood for a large bonfire, while the dog is tied to a post, unaware of its fate. Everyone is dead serious. The sound track is a collage of patriotic music and voices about the war in Vietnam - LBJ, quotes from the military, news reports, etc. The bonfire is lit and the dog held high above the flames. Pictures from the war are flashed on the screen - burning peasant houses, napalmed civilians, etc. The film ends. Presumably, the dog is spared.
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